McKinney directs the technology transfer and economic development division of what was formerly known as the Medical College of Georgia.
“You’ve got a remarkable, with a capital R, community here,” McKinney said. “You’re doing things that make a lot of cities that have other advantages look a little bit like they’re not quite getting the picture.”
He saluted Rome for innovative work in information technology, health care and manufacturing.
“You’re really looking into the future, which I think is something important that we have to do every day,” said McKinney.
Much of his presentation related to developments in the medical industry and the plethora of impacts that research and technology are having.
Speaking of cancer care and chemotherapy, McKinney said the challenge relates to the fact that in many cases, doctors were giving too much chemo, too often and for too long.
“Now we have turned the model around and said let’s figure out how few, how little and for how short a time we can go to get the optimal result,” McKinney said.
He spoke of advances in mammography that included high-resolution imagery with near non-compression. Problem was, the technology never made it to the market because the insurance companies wouldn’t pay for it.
“This is the intersection of technology and medical practice business reality,” McKinney said.
Rather than give up on the technology, researchers were able to re-purpose the device from a diagnostic into a therapeutic device.
“Health care is different,” McKinney said. “Sick care is what we tend to focus on, but we’re making strides so stay tuned.”
He said the promise of personalized medicine is coming closer to reality every day. Individual genetic makeup can tailor medicine and treatment options and result in better health outcomes, but the catch involves what payers will pay for and what pharma companies can produce.
McKinney said the way of the future involves asking tough questions.
“The way it is is not the way it can be,” McKinney concluded. “What can we do different? What are we not asking? What are we assuming and not overcoming?”
He said that Georgia and the burgeoning biomedical community in Atlanta, Rome, Augusta and elsewhere in the state should be the innovators to push and drive advances in telehealth and telemedicine moving forward.